I had noticed a quote online from the New Catholic Encyclopedia on the canon that read a bit differently than the online Encyclopedia so I checked things out at the library. Here is what the print version of the Catholic Encyclopedia says about the Old Testament Canon:
“St. Jerome (340-420AD) distinguished between “canonical books” and “ecclesiastical books”. The latter, he judged, were circulated by the Church as good “spiritual reading” but were not recognized as authoritative Scripture. St. Augustine, however, did not recognize this distinction. He accepted all the books in the LXX as of equal value, noting that those designated as apocryphal by Jerome were of either unknown or obscure origin. Augustine’s point of view prevailed and the deuterocanonical books remained in the Vulgate, the Latin version that received official standing at the Council of Trent.
The situation remained unclear in the ensuing centuries, although the the tendency to accept the disputed books was becoming all the time more general. In spite of this trend some, e.g. John Damascene, Gregory the Great, Walafrid, Nicholas of Lyra and Tostado, continued to doubt the canoncity of the deuterocanonical books…The Council of Trent definitively settled the matter of the OT canon. That this had not been done previously is apparent from the uncertainty that persisted up to the time of Trent.”
New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967
Imprimatur: Patrick A. O’Boyle, D.D.
Archbishop of Washington, August 5, 1966
Again, the Catholic Encyclopedia seems to give a more balanced view of the development of the canon than most Catholic apologists/e-pologists. Up until the time of Trent there was clearly some uncertainty about which OT books were canonical.
If we compare this quotation from the printed Catholic Encyclopedia to the quotation from the online Catholic Encyclopedia, we find a growing list of Catholic theologians who had doubts about the canonicity of the deuterocanonical/apocryphal books.
Online Catholic Encyclopedia:
“In this period [4th-5th century] the position of the deuterocanonical literature is no longer as secure as in the primitive age…Following the precedent of Origen and the Alexandrian tradition, the saintly doctor [Athanasius] recognized no other formal canon of the Old Testament than the Hebrew one; but also, faithful to the same tradition, he practically admitted the deutero books to a Scriptural dignity, as is evident from his general usage. At Jerusalem there was a renascence, perhaps a survival, of Jewish ideas, the tendency there being distinctly unfavourable to the deuteros. St. Cyril of that see, while vindicating for the Church the right to fix the Canon, places them among the apocrypha and forbids all books to be read privately which are not read in the churches…St. Epiphanius shows hesitation about the rank of the deuteros; he esteemed them, but they had not the same place as the Hebrew books in his regard. The historian Eusebius attests the widespread doubts in his time; he classes them as antilegomena, or disputed writings, and, like Athanasius, places them in a class intermediate between the books received by all and the apocrypha….
The influence of Origen's and Athanasius's restricted canon naturally spread to the West. St. Hilary of Poitiers and Rufinus followed their footsteps, excluding the deuteros from canonical rank in theory, but admitting them in practice. The latter styles them "ecclesiastical" books, but in authority unequal to the other Scriptures. St. Jerome cast his weighty suffrage on the side unfavourable to the disputed books…“
Catholic Fathers/Theologians who doubted the deuterocanonical books later canonized by Trent (century): Origen (3rd), Athanasius (4th), Eusebius (4th), Jerome (4th), Epiphanius (4th), Hilary of Poitiers (4th), John Damascene (8th), Gregory the Great (6th), Walafrid (9th), Nicholas of Lyra (14th) and Tostado (15th)…more to come.